lic·​o·​rice | \ ˈli-k(ə-)rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -k(ə-)rəs How to pronounce licorice (audio) \

Definition of licorice

1a : the dried root of a European leguminous plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers also : an extract of this used especially in medicine, liquors, and confectionery
b : a candy flavored with licorice or a substitute (such as anise)
2 : a plant yielding licorice also : a related plant

Examples of licorice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Further south, Scandinavian Specialities has been ensuring people’s pantries stay stocked with harder-to-find items like lingonberry preserve and salted licorice candy since 1962. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "From Beer Halls to Bakeries, Where to Find Seattle’s Scandinavian Influences," 4 Sep. 2019 Over a typical Slovakian meal — potato dumplings with sheep cheese, and Kofola, a fizzy soda with a faint licorice flavor — Mathe told her about the city’s history. Los Angeles Times, "Off the rails: How Brexit threatens a popular travel program for young Britons," 3 Sep. 2019 Then comes a licorice splash of Pernod and, of course, a bib for you. Michael Hiller, Dallas News, "These Las Vegas restaurants will transport you to the sea without leaving the desert," 13 Aug. 2019 The cucumber carries the day, with the licorice root asserting itself as well and the kiwi adding some dryness. Andre Meunier,, "I tried 17 beers at the Oregon Brewers Festival; here’s how they rate," 25 July 2019 This could mean ginger, chili, cinnamon and garlic, among other things, but most certainly includes star anise, infusing the creamy eggs with its unique licorice-like flavor. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Taipei 101: Old restaurant standbys can be new for you," 12 June 2019 My lower back, which usually feels like someone poured concrete down my spine, felt as loose as licorice rope. Marni Jameson, The Mercury News, "How to choose the perfect mattress — psst, the Fairmont is involved," 24 July 2019 Kristen said the two loved to spoil their four grandchildren with princess crowns, a BB gun, and a drawer filled with Jolly Ranchers and licorice ropes., "Cause of death: Heartbreak? For one Portland-area couple, their family thinks so.," 14 July 2019 The best tame the tartness and build flavor by adding rose hips, berries, spices, flowers, lemongrass, licorice root, orange and more. Jolene Thym, The Mercury News, "Taste-Off: The Bay Area’s best (and worst) hibiscus teas," 13 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'licorice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of licorice

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for licorice

Middle English licorice, from Anglo-French licoris, from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Latin glycyrrhiza, from Greek glykyrrhiza, from glykys sweet + rhiza root — more at dulcet, root

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about licorice

Statistics for licorice

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for licorice

The first known use of licorice was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for licorice



English Language Learners Definition of licorice

: a candy made from the dried root of a European plant


lic·​o·​rice | \ ˈli-kə-rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -rəs\

Kids Definition of licorice

1 : the dried root of a European plant or a juice from it used in medicine and in candy
2 : candy flavored with licorice


variants: or chiefly British liquorice \ ˈlik(-​ə)-​rish How to pronounce liquorice (audio) , -​rəs How to pronounce liquorice (audio) \

Medical Definition of licorice

1 : a European leguminous plant of the genus Glycyrrhiza (G. glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers
b : an extract of glycyrrhiza commonly prepared in the form of a gummy or rubbery paste

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on licorice

Spanish Central: Translation of licorice

Nglish: Translation of licorice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of licorice for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about licorice

Comments on licorice

What made you want to look up licorice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!